Regional Primary Health Care Organisations: population health planning, participation, equity and the extent to which initiatives are comprehensive
In 2013 the Southgate Institute was successful in atttracting over $1 million from the NH&MRC project grant scheme to study regional primary health care organisatoins across Australia. The project aims to examine regional population health planning processes for primary health care and the extent to which they incorporate equity, community participation and social determinants of health in their plans and programs, with a special emphasis on three disadvantaged groups: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, newly arrived migrants/refugees, and people with a mental illness. The project will also examine partnerships with other organisations, patterns of interactions and power relationships, and the key driving forces in population health planning and decision making.
Given the government announcement that Medicare Locals will be replaced by new primary health organisations after July 2015, the research team reviewed and amended the research plan.
The project involves two stages: Stage 1 (until July 2015) intends to provide a whole picture of Medicare Locals across Australia in terms of policy, strategies and activities, and the extent to what they have incorporated the attributes of CPHC in govenance, health planning, decision making and priority setting. It also examines partnerships with local PHC stakeholders in providing comprehensive care. Once the new PHC Networks are established after July 2015, Stage 2 of the project will monitor population health planning processes and the impact of policy changes on PHC collaboration and planning to address the health needs of local communities.
A mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods will be used. These include policy and planning review, survey and interviews with primary health care staff, and interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders. The study is designed to provide opportunities for knowledge transfer and capacity building in Australian regional PHC organisations concerning the incorporation of CPHC attributes in planning, implementation and evaluation.